Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Elementary and Secondary Schools: Where Education and Energy Savings Meet

April 20, 2004

Photo of Camp Lejeune High School students.

Camp Lejeune High School students

To combat spiraling energy costs, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Domestic Dependents Elementary and Secondary Schools (DDESS) developed a plan of action to cut energy costs while also educating students. The schools joined forces with Camp Lejeune to establish an Energy Education Program. This approach is compatible with current curriculums, and involves students, teachers, school administration, and Base personnel coming together to achieve the objectives of decreasing annual utility costs and complying with Executive Order 13123, which mandates a 35 percent reduction in energy intensity by FY 2010. In FY 2003, the schools showed a reduction of 5.2 billion Btu and a savings of $52,555 from lighting retrofits and documented savings from the Energy Education Program.

The Energy Education Program was conceived by Jerry Rowlands, C.E.M., Camp Lejeune's Energy Awareness Coordinator in the Energy Programs Office, Public Works Division. Rowlands and the schools worked to create a permanent program that would educate the students as well as staff. The result is a strategy that complements the established Base effort to conserve energy and enables the schools and Base to achieve three goals: educate students, reduce energy costs, and reduce energy consumption.

Large-scale energy conservation takes more than a good idea—it takes commitment. The program has received a high level of support from school administration, teachers, the DOD Education Activity, and students.

The Energy Education Program is now part of the curriculum of the College and Career Development Class, and is taught by Christina Myers. Students' responsibilities include:

  • Coordinating Camp Lejeune DDESS Schools Energy Education Program,

  • Establishing an energy management plan,

  • Recording and monitoring energy consumption,

  • Identifying waste,

  • Promoting energy awareness,

  • Mentoring and training elementary and middle school energy monitors,

  • Identifying energy projects, and

  • Reporting progress.

Line graph comparing energy use before and after an energy awareness program at Camp Lejeune. It depicts a 14% reduction in energy use after program began.

Camp Lejeune schools have reduced energy consumption by 14 percent since the start of the program.

"The Energy Education Program has been a new, innovative, collaborative effort for the high school students," Mrs. Myers stated. "This program has shown the students what teamwork and hard work is all about. Amazing—learning can be fun!"

Rowlands and Myers teach the energy education program every Wednesday. The students will create an Energy Management Plan that will establish energy conservation policies and procedures for the school system. This plan will be patterned after Camp Lejeune's Energy Business Plan. Once endorsed by the School Superintendent Robert Brinton, it will become part of the schools' policy. With the support of the Energy Program Office and DDESS District Superintendent Financial Officer, the students will also establish an energy usage baseline for each school. The students will utilize this baseline to calculate and report savings from the program. Student Energy Managers will be trained on energy consumption and costs, and will conduct energy audits locating sources of energy waste. Collectively, the Student Energy Managers will form the Student Energy Conservation and Appraisal Board (SECAB).

Participation in the program will help the students acquire and practice important skills applicable to everyday life, such as:

  • Applying organizational skills and working within a group to achieve a common goal.

  • Practicing business writing and philosophy nd "bottom line" thinking.

  • Collecting and organizing data and identifying energy projects.

  • Practicing and improving public relations skills.

  • Preparing presentations and public speaking.

"The Energy Education program was a perfect vehicle for the school and community to form a partnership. The project was a perfect fit with the curriculum and was interdisciplinary. Science, business, art, drama, public speaking, mathematics, computer science—all were addressed as students worked on the project. Students learned; they had fun; they taught others; they provided a service to the community; they�re eager to continue the work next year. I know of few learning experiences that can boast of all this," stated Martha Brown, Lejeune High School Principal.

The 2003 school year goal to establish the commitment and foundation of the program was met beyond expectations, and the SECAB was very active in its short existence. Established in March 2003, they have already achieved the following:

  • Developed the framework of an energy management business plan.

  • Set the energy baseline using energy consumption data from 4 previous years.

  • Developed a possible solar panel project for Brewster Middle and Lejeune High Schools.

  • Implemented an "Energy Conservation Minute" during morning announcements.

  • Developed the Lejeune High School energy conservation essay contest and promoted it using flyers and posters.

  • During Camp Lejeune Schools Energy Awareness Week, conducted a variety of activities including:

  • Setting up an energy awareness booth at Lejeune High School during lunchtime to promote energy conservation.

    • Setting up an energy awareness booth at Berkeley Manor Elementary School's Spring Festival.

    • Putting on a puppet show and energy conservation skit for elementary students.

    • Making presentations at all elementary schools.

    • Putting on an energy conservation skit for middle school students.

    • Making three presentations at Brewster Middle School.

  • Starting in the 2003-2004 school year a member of the SECAB will be a Co-Op student and work in the Energy Programs Office.

For further information on the Camp Lejeune Energy Education Program, contact Jim Sides, Energy Manager, at 910-451-5950 ext 201, or Jerry Rowlands, Energy Awareness Coordinator, at 910-451-5950 ext 202.